— By Andy Kroll
In late November, as the Foreclosure-gate scandal spread throughout the country, Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-Tex.) demanded to know how much money Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the wounded quasi-government housing corporations, had paid to multiple sleazy law firms at the heart of the foreclosure crisis. One of the firms Neugebauer had in his crosshairs, the Law Offices of David J. Stern in southeastern Florida, had been the subject of a long Mother Jones investigation in August, which also detailed how Fannie and Freddie gave rise to this unscrupulous and greedy breed of law firms. This week Neugebauer got his response: according to data reviewed by HousingWire, the firms in question received nearly $50 million in legal fees from Fannie and Freddie.
Most of that money, $46 million, came from Freddie Mac, the smaller of the two corporations; Fannie paid the controversial firms $2 million. That’s quite a hefty sum for Florida’s largest “foreclosure mills,” as they’re known. But the coziness between Fannie and Freddie and the foreclosure mills doesn’t stop there. After all, foreclosure mills wouldn’t exist were it not for the creation of the two government corporations.
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